26-Year-Old Center – Minnesota Wild
Erik Haula Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $2 million contract with the Wild in August 2015.
Haula (undisclosed) will return to Minnesota's lineup for Saturday's Game 5 against the Blues, Michael Russo of the Star Tribune reports.
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Erik Haula: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Haula got hot at times last year with two games of back-to-back multiple points. However, he also was in the coach's doghouse too often for defensive lapses. He's just 24 and his role could grow in his third season. However, he may spend too much time on the fourth line or the bench for most fantasy leagues.
Haula emerged as a serious player for the Wild in his rookie season, though it wouldn't seem so based on the surface numbers. During the season, he played just 46 games, posting six goals and nine assists. But it's his play at the end of the season and during the playoffs that's worthy of note here. He had played respectably throughout most of the campaign, but an injury to Mikael Granlund in the final month elevated him to the second-line center role. He thrived in that capacity, ultimately posted four goals (including one game-winner), three assists and 29 shots over 13 playoff games. With Granlund back in the fold, Haula is slotted into a third-line role to start the season, and he could surprise if injuries force him to move up the depth chart again. He's still a bit of an unknown, but he could be a killer sleeper pick in a very late round of your draft.
Haula played six games for Houston of the AHL last spring after finishing a strong career at the University of Minnesota (51 points in 37 games his final season). He'll likely begin the season in the AHL, but drew praise from the coaching staff and could be called up early in the season.